Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Janette Oke’s historical novels helped launch Christian fiction and created a genre known as prairie romance. However, her books are more about love than romance. Romantic love, of course, exists between Marty and Clark and later between their grown children and their chosen life mates. However, the attraction for readers and what Oke said she wanted to convey was love.

Throughout the eight-book series, Oke shows love pervading the lives of the Davis family. God’s love becomes evident in his provision for the widowed Marty. A less than ideal marriage blooms into a lifetime commitment and a legacy of love passed down through succeeding generations. As a result, the Davises develop married love that grows out of compassion. They demonstrate love between parents and children as Marty and Clark each raise the other’s child from a former marriage as well as offspring conceived from their own union. They foster love for siblings despite hardships of life on the prairie and the age gap between some of their children. They encourage love for extended family by supporting the pursuit of dreams and God-given gifts. They nurture love in the form of compassion by helping neighbors and providing a home for two abandoned children.

Most important, in these books Oke bring to fiction the power of love between God and those who follow him. God demonstrates his unending love and faithfulness to members of this family, who in turn are faithful in loving him. When they face trials, they need not fear because he is with them. He keeps the promises in his word—the Bible. As the Davises place their trust in him, God brings blessings out of their sufferings and joy from their sorrows. The Davis family’s lives abound with enduring love because of their deep trust in God and their determination to live out their faith on the prairie.